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The Memory Thief (2007)

 -  Drama  -  14 April 2007 (USA)
5.7
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 206 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 40 critic

A growing obsession with the Holocaust exacerbates the mental breakdown of a lonely tollbooth operator.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Lukas
...
Mira
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Mr. Zweig
...
Mr. Fisher
...
The Clerk
Farah Cabrera ...
Nurse (as Farah Afnan)
June Claman ...
Zvi's Wife
...
Skinhead
...
Mr. DeSilva
...
Mort
...
...
Intern #1
...
Man on Phone
...
Hospital Patient
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Storyline

A growing obsession with the Holocaust exacerbates the mental breakdown of a lonely tollbooth operator.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What if your past belongs to someone else...?

Genres:

Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

14 April 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Inconsolable  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

Both Zev and Mr. Zweig are too young to be actual Holocaust survivors. They would have been babies during 1939-1945, and they would also not be marked with identification tattoos. See more »

Quotes

Mira: [on why she doesn't watch Holocaust films] They all die at the end, and Nazis did it.
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User Reviews

 
Effective, chilling, if flawed
14 February 2012 | by (US) – See all my reviews

Deeply disturbing and thought provoking, well-acted if not without serious flaws, this indie film asks some serious questions about our relationship to the suffering of others.

Lukas, a young socially disconnected toll-booth clerk who lives in a sort of haze meets a holocaust survivor and becomes obsessed with the man, and then the subject itself. He begins working for a group recording survivor testimony.

Ever more unhinged Lukas becomes driven to watch and recording the testimony, filling up his own empty life with the horrifying memories of others. He starts to call himself a Jew, watches the tapes 24/7 and becomes increasingly delusional.

Ultimately, this borrows a bit too heavily from other films of lost souls becoming increasingly mad; Taxi Driver, The Believer, etc. as well as some cliché concepts of 'going crazy' behavior. (Does every crazy person tape hundreds of images to their walls?)

It also relies too much on hard to believe behavior by others. (e.g. the attraction the healthy, bright doctor-daughter daughter of the 1st survivor to the blatantly unstable Lukas is very hard to buy, as is the idea Lukas keeps his job long when he starts video-taping every car that passes by, asking the occupants 'are you a Jew'?).

But this has it's own understated nightmare quality, which makes it, like a train wreck, compulsively watchable. Which, in turn implicates the viewer in the same kind of obsession with the suffering of others the main character thrives on.

It also, only partly successfully, attacks Hollywood for trivializing the Holocaust in blockbusters like 'Shindler's List', although it doesn't make it clear why 'The Memory Thief' is really any different (in fact I felt queasy about the use of real survivor testimony in a film that's more a tale of madness than history).

None-the-less, I was always pulled in by the film, and quite haunted by it. Something I can say about far too few films.


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